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  • Writer's picturekristina jacobsen

Day 4: Rest day in Gambassi Terme-return to Rome

Yesterday was a deeply calming and centering day I spent the morning at the hot springs immersing myself in Finnish saunas and ice baths and room temperature mineral baths, taking long naps, in luxurious chairs in between, and picking up a new novel set during the financial crisis of 2008. in a small village in Ireland. It’s beautiful and insightful and all-encompassing, and exactly the kind of book I like on a day off. 

I spent a second day at the Ostello Sigerico in Gambassi Terme. As you'll see from the pictures, it's welcoming and incredibly beautiful and has lots of space for people to sit and reflect and be on their own and then come together as they choose. So it’s really nicely set up for pilgrims and travelers. There was a nice mix at the dinner table last night of Italian pilgrims and pilgrims from elsewhere. And I made some new friends with Pilgrims from Bulgaria and Australia who definitely felt like kindred spirits.

ostello sugerico in gambassi terme, tuscany
ostello sugerico, Gambassi terme Ostello sugerico, Gambassi terme, outdoor courtyard
Ostello Sigerico
Ostello Sigerico, outdoor cloister garden

This has been my first Camino walking on my own, something many people say is good for any pilgrim to do. And I have to say that the walking on my own feels fantastic. And I like the rhythm of walking on my own and then rejoining with pilgrims in the evening. Since I've been walking shorter distances, I'm also not traveling to each and every Ostello (hostel) with the same people. So that also helps to create a lot of variety in terms of who I met at the hostels each night. 

——-singing “as I went down to the river to pray“ in the church attached to the hostel. It was built in the eighth century 80 and has a delicious acoustic.——

Now I'm at the train station in Castelfiorentino. It’s about 6:30 in the morning, and I'm about to grab a train for the morning down to Rome where I'll be switching gears and putting on my conference and songwriting facilitator hat and then playing a solo show of my own songs at the end of the week.

 My backpack feels lighter. I have two new Walking sticks stashed in the side of one pocket and I'm finding it much easier to pack up quickly and have everything I need and ready to go as I did this morning in under five minutes. There’s a real freedom in that which I love.

With my backpack and new walking sticks at the train station

Image of the pilgrim at the OSTELLO SIGERICO
Box in Ireland about the 2008 financial crisis on every day lives and told from multiple perspectives simultaneously. Heart wrenching powerful.

I was told when I came back from the springs yesterday by my roommate that I was glowing, and perhaps I was I've had an exquisite lunch and incredible morning and a hot springs. A delicious book under my arm and had nothing awaiting me for the rest of the evening besides a nice walk and dinner at a long table with new friends in the Tuscan countryside. 

I am leaving with a new sense of connection to myself and a reminder of how little I need to feel regulated, and the clear sense of my own boundaries when traveling by myself for an extended period as a female solo traveler. While I never felt unsafe, I did have moments where I was offered things by older Italian men in particular such as a coffee, unsolicited advice, or detailed attention to my travel plans that sometimes I found overwhelming and often unhelpful. I also understand that that is a form of caring for many older men, especially towards the women in my age group. So learning how to politely decline,especially in another language that has so many honorifics and makes it even more difficult to say no, is something that I'm still learning in Italian in particular. It is a work in progress. 

I am also leaving feeling inspired by the female solo travelers I have been meeting along the way. These are smart, savvy, super efficient travelers, walking with very little gear, open hearts and lots of cultural savvy as they make their way through all sorts of different places, communities regions and walking pth. Oneis a psychologist and equine therapist from  Buonos Aires, Argentina. she is always seen with her small gourd cup of mate.  Another is a playwright and community theater producer from Melbourne, Australia. We had brief chance encounters but they were deeply inspiring.

On Sunday, I’ll start a new Camino, walking from Pamplona to Logroño on the Camino, Frances in Spain. I will take the next four days as rest days and can't wait to continue documenting this journey on the other side, but this time from northern Spain and Basque Country!

*author disclaimer: All posts written on the camino are written from my cell phone, and therefore have very minimal editing. They are meant to be a snapshot and a representation of daily life while walking, rather than a polished publication. Please take that into account when reading.*

— some final food Vespa shots: left to right, top to bottom: cornetto with white chocolate, called a GALAX, florence; panna cotta with strawberries on top; SCHIACCIATE serves for meal as an appetizer; beautiful yellow Vespa; assign focusing on diversity and inclusivity on the Italian Camino.

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Henrik Nielsen
Henrik Nielsen

I just had to say it. That's a beautiful sound and song-)

kristina jacobsen
kristina jacobsen
4 days ago

thank you, friend!


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